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Tuesday, 28 November 1905

Mr ISAACS (Indi) (Attorney-General) . -There is a prohibition in existence against the use of a geographical name as a trade mark, for the reason that no one has the right to appropriate a name or word that belongs to what one learned Judge called " the great common of the English language." It would not be fair, for example, to grant an exclusive proprietary right to the use of the word " Melbourne," as applied to soap made in that city. Some words that are geographical names may be used in certain collocations, because they do not convey a geographical signification. I think it was Lord Justice Fry who said that " Monkey soap " was a good term for a trade mark, because although there was such a place as Monkey Island, there could be no confusion between the trade article and the geographical name. In another case, a certain whisky was branded " Magnolia," and as there was a town of that name in the United States, it was actually argued that that name could not be used. I must say that I prefer the language in the Bill, because I think it is more easily understood than that adopted in the English Act. It is verv difficult to say what is the ordinary signification pf a geographical name. I think that the true test is whether a name used in connexion with goods is likely to be understood in a geographical sense.

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